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Undergraduate Prescription Stimulant Misuse and Academic Strain: The Role of College Major and Graduate School Plans

Studies have found that prescription drug misuse is a growing concern among college undergraduate students (18-25 years old). This study looks at prescription drug stimulant misuse throughout undergraduate students and their risk of being used for academic purposes. These stimulants may include drugs such as methylphenidates or amphetamines. These drugs are typically used to increase alertness, energy, and/or attention. The study specifically looks at how academic strain, grade strain, and academic impediments influence student’s likeliness of misusing prescription stimulants. This is important information to help provide prevention and intervention programs for college students along with appropriate education.

To complete this study, the researchers surveyed around 900 participants. These participants included college students at a large Southeastern University during May 2014. The questions asked gave the researchers insight into participants prescription stimulant misuse and the risks surrounding it. A regression analysis was used to interpret the data collected. This means that the researchers organized the data in such a way that they could look at relationships between one or more independents variables effect on a dependent variable.

The data collected showed that college students who experienced academic struggles or impediments in the last academic year are at an increased likelihood of misusing prescriptions stimulants. The students that experiences grade strain in the last academic year also had a higher likelihood of misusing stimulants. Knowing the “why” behind this prescription stimulant misuse can provide valuable insight into helping students that are at risk. Education should be created and implemented at universities as a resource to these at risk students.

Take Away: Prescription stimulant misuse among college students is a growing concern. This study looked at how academic strain impacts the risk of students misusing these drugs. The researchers found that students that experienced academic impediments or grade strain in the previous academic year were at a higher risk for misusing prescription stimulants. This information can be used to provide appropriate educational and prevention programs for students on college campuses.

Tags: College, Academic, Prescription, Stimulant

Norman, L. B., & Ford, J. A. (2019). Undergraduate Prescription Stimulant Misuse and Academic Strain: The Role of College Major and Graduate School Plans. Journal of Drug Issues, 49(4), 756–771. doi: 10.1177/0022042619870504

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